Keeping wildlife in urban dwellings could cause suffering

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals strongly opposes Mr Ong Junkai's suggestion (Expand list of animals allowed as pets; June 11).

There is every reason to keep the ban. Even though some species may have been domesticated, or long recognised by the international pet industry, it does not justify Singapore (a highly urbanised city) following suit.

That "the pet trade needs to evolve to suit the lifestyles of people today", shows a lack of consideration for the animals.

The wildlife pet trade, much of it illicit, has caused distress, suffering or death to many of the animals.

Wild animals have specific needs that are challenging to meet. Housing them in urban dwellings with novice owners could result in prolonged suffering.

Also, it is not true there are no allergy issues where reptiles are concerned. Allergies to reptiles have been documented. Reptiles can also transmit a number of diseases, including life-threatening ones, to humans.

Finally, wild animals that are not endemic to our local environment can upset our fragile ecosystem if they escape or are abandoned.

Jaipal Singh Gill (Dr)

Executive Director

Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 17, 2017, with the headline 'Keeping wildlife in urban dwellings could cause suffering'. Print Edition | Subscribe